SC stays EC’s decision on identifying real Shiv Sena

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New Delhi, 4 August: The Supreme Court, after hearing the Shiv Sena case on Thursday, ordered the Election Commission not to take any decision on the issue of faction constituted the real party the time being. The court will pronounce its verdict on August 8, whether to refer the matter to a five-member Constitution Bench or not.

A bench headed by Chief Justice NV Ramana, after hearing arguments of all parties, said that the date of hearing has been fixed by the Election Commission on August 8.

If the petitioners want to seek time from the Election Commission, then the Commission should consider it. The Court directed the Commission not to take any decision on the issue of original Shiv Sena.

During the hearing, Shinde faction’s counsel Harish Salve made several points regarding the Speaker’s authority on disqualification and the manner in which the procedure is to be carried out and demanded a detailed hearing. Salve said that the MLAs are entitled to participate in the activities of the House. Even if they vote against the party, it will be valid. The Chief Justice then asked whether a MLA, once elected, is not controlled by the party but only accountable to the discipline of the legislature party of the party.

Advocate Kapil Sibal, appearing for the Uddhav faction, requested that the matter not be referred to the Constitution Bench, saying that lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi and he can finish the arguments in two hours. Sibal asked how the disqualified MLAs can claim to be the real party in the Election Commission. Then the Chief Justice said that no one can be stopped from doing this.

During the hearing, Election Commission’s counsel Arvind Datar said that if ?anyone claims of being the parent party, then we are legally bound to take a decision on it?. Datar said disqualification from the Assembly is a separate issue.

Uddhav Thackeray faction has said that the Election Commission should not take its action until the disqualification of the MLAs of the Shinde faction is decided.

The EC has summoned documents from both the parties till August 8. Thackeray faction has challenged the Maharashtra Governor’s decision to invite Eknath Shinde to form the government.

The petition, filed by MPs Vinayak Raut and Rajan Vichare, has sought quashing of the appointment of Rahul Shewale as the leader of the Shiv Sena Parliamentary Party in the Lok Sabha and Bhavna Gawli as the chief whip.